The Embattled Feminine Gaze: A Study in Reylo Discourse
Mentor: Dan Frank
My project investigates the fan discourse surrounding the popular romantic pairing of Reylo, or Rey and Kylo Ren from Star Wars, with regard to feminism and the feminine gaze. Using the scholarship of feminist and film scholars Laura Mulvey and bell hooks on media spectatorship as a framework, I will examine fan analysis (or fan “meta”) of Reylo to determine a) why people support Reylo, b) why people dislike Reylo, and c) how different fan communities’ identities and experiences inform their interaction with media, or “gazing.” I intend to supplement this discussion with additional academic research on romance fiction and feminism to contextualize the Reylo debate within a larger ongoing conversation about how women produce and consume media. Additionally, I will compare the Reylo discourse with discussions around similar pairings in storytelling media to identify wider trends across contemporary pop culture fandoms as well as classic literature.